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"Venting" behind closed doors

(20 Posts)
Buster51 Sat 15-Mar-14 07:03:40

Hi all.
Some of you may remember a thread where I was concerned about DS being very 'regimented' & not really showing a great deal of emotion about, well anything.

He has started to come out of his shell at school a little, & a see tiny glimpses of things at home, but noting really.

However last night he didn't sleep for some time, I listened in to his chatter for a while, he was repeating things primarily I had said to him in a real sort of nasty mean voice! He also referred to me as my name & not "mum" & referred to DH as "baby daddy?"

The things he was saying were in relation to what I believe he thinks are me "telling him off" I.e. when I've said no for something, or asked him to not do something. But along side just everyday conversations I've had with him but in that same condescending voice.

I was quite shaken :-( but I knew there must be something underneath that external "always well behaved" behavior. Also the last few days I have been ensuring I have left a small amount of time where he is to play on his own, as he is completely incapable of doing so while I am in the house, no one else just me. Probably my own fault giving him so much.

So perhaps this is his way of venting about things he's not pleased with?? Therefore I should really take it as a good thing?!? One day no doubt hell get these feelings out to my face.

Do anyone have any thoughts on this? Clearly I won't tell him I listened, likewise I need to just put it to the back of my mind & understand he is still settling, & it isn't a "personal attack" at me. I'm just too soft!

Interesting my mum & family know I am a bit of a worrier, always have been. My mum thinks that he is likely picking up on my almost "fear" if you like of certain things he does, trying to understand if there are problems I can help him with. Instead of just not overthinking them, then they'll go away.

Hels20 Sat 15-Mar-14 07:18:02

Poor you, Buster. I have no wise words but if this had happened to me, I would have cried (I know that we have to be tough). Will be interested to hear what other people say. Gosh - you are strong. Strange that he refers to your DH as babydaddy.

namechangesforthehardstuff Sat 15-Mar-14 08:34:53

Nothing to say about the behaviour - I'm sure someone will smile - it sounds pretty normal.

But you say you're too soft, your mum thinks you overanalyse things... Not sure that's the case really - are you under pressure to parent more 'normally'? It sounds like you might be and I'd say you probably do need to keep thinking about these things, asking for advice, reading about them etc and it's likely that friends and family won't quite get that and you could always tell them to sod off grin

Buster51 Sat 15-Mar-14 08:40:43

That is how I feel to be honest. Yes I am scared of his rejection which I know I shouldn't be, & perhaps he does pick up on that. But they say I'm too tough, or overthink thinks, or say to parent him how I was parented. I am perhaps tougher on certain things but it is when I know he is acting in a way to rein control. A "usual" child you could maybe let it slip, but not a child who desperately stays in control & tries to control situations.

I am just feeling very down, & quite alone despite so many people around me. I don't know whether I'm coming or going, what I'm doing is right or wrong, & to top it off DS is venting against me which I know shouldn't upset me like it is.

I sometimes feel as though I'm just here as a person for him to see what he can get out of me :-( all completely understandable but doesn't make it easy

Buster51 Sat 15-Mar-14 08:52:18

Also I find my family very easily, all of the time say to him "you're a good boy, what a good boy, you sure are good" etc. and I have to admit its something I say to him as a generic answer if he does something well sometimes.

I think it's all too much, I heard him repeating it to himself in bed. There was a post on here a few weeks ago regarding generic "statements of being good" & that it can actually be quite bad. They say it constantly. It seems to be a habit they've all got. When I say perhaps we should say it as often especially when he's not actually doing anything to warrant "being a good boy" it must be so confusing?!

It's like he strives for being this good boy, or big boy now. How can I get them all to stop something they've done for many years? I'm trying my hardest to myself (as its clearly rubbed off on me), by trying to say things more constructive but it is quite hard!

A little bit off topic but I thought I'd share

TwistAndShout Sat 15-Mar-14 08:58:40

No real advice but I completely understand how you feel when other people don't understand your parenting or why you're being so tough at times. Our adopted daughter is the same in terms of trying to control situations etc. My parents don't always understand why I have to deal with it and how.

Realise that sounds waffly now, just on our way out. Will check back later. Big hugs to you though, it's very tough and relentless.

hollyisalovelyname Sat 15-Mar-14 09:10:34

What age is your ds?

Buster51 Sat 15-Mar-14 09:32:22

Thank you twistandshout

He's 4. I'm clashing heads with everyone all of the time about it all :-(

RandomMess Sat 15-Mar-14 09:49:45

I'm not an adoptive parent so please ignore if I'm off the mark!

General parenting comment - reward the behaviour smile rather than "good boy" comment.

You did x well
You were very quiet whilst I was on the phone, thank you
I can see how hard you tried on your painting, are you proud of yourself?
You've got yourself ready to go out the house without help/Got dressed without being asked - fantastic.
I think you did great at setting the table, what do you think?

This kind of thing will let him know what you expect/want from and also let him know what to do when he does want to misbehave for attention wink

Asking him what he thinks of things he has done, and behaviour he has displayed I believe is good for dc to learn self reflection and also he may come out with some shockers - like he thinks he is really rubbish, again a way in to have chats about feelings. Especially conflicting feelings.

"I think that you love playing with your cousins but that sometimes you feel left out because they see each other more/have known each other longer/are siblings" Learning about having conflicting feelings over the same situation is important for all dc not just adopted ones. So it could be "sometimes I think you love living with Mummy and Daddy and sometimes I think it also makes you feel sad/angry/cross" Of course the negative feelings are to do with the past but they will probably get deflected onto you?

I always recommend parents to read "How to talk so kids will listen, listen so kids will talk" and "Siblings without rivalry" I'm not sure if they do a sister book related to adoptive families or broken families but if they do I'd read that do. They are very easy to read, proven studies and full of examples. Again you'd have to adapt much of what is written but it does help you remember how it feels to be any child and see the world from their point of view a little bit more. Also that they proved the more dc verbalise all their negative nasty thoughts the happier they genuinely are. Let your daughter see hideous things about their sibling and how they'd like to kill them and in 99% of cases they will actually then be genuinely more loving and kind to them because they actually have had permission to voice those very strong feelings we all have had as dc (and adults!)

I'm sure your ds does feel much he's probably sadly just learnt to shut it all away sad.

Good luck and don't be afraid if your Mum says "What a good boy" to pipe up something like "yes his manners at the table were fantastic" so he's not just hearing a bland meaningless comment.

Kewcumber Sat 15-Mar-14 09:50:22

I'm not sure if anything I say will be very helpful but I do think that you need to accept that you can't fix everything and that those things you can "fix" will take a great deal longer than you've had so far.

A few months of consistent parenting isn't going to overcome years of insecurity even if you find the "perfect" way to parent that you seem to be searching for.

Don't worry about him not being able to play on his own - DS at 8 (and home for 7 years) still struggles. It's really not the end of the world (IMO) and does improve slightly naturally and doesn't need to be forced.

Whilst it might have made me sad I would still think that he is just trying to make sense in his head of what has happened to him. Don't worry about what family say - you aren't responsible for it and can't control it - just try to be more mindful and praising his actions and behaviours.

It is hard not to take things personally but you do need to have some kind of mantra in your head which goes along the lines of "I'm the adult, it isn't about me". I find we as adults tend to interpret the things children say and do with our adult emotional vocabulary whereas the reality is that they have the emotional subtlety of a sledgehammer.

I sometimes feel as though I'm just here as a person for him to see what he can get out of me - well yes - children are the ultimate narcissists! I once read that you can;t diagnose Narcissistic personalities disorders until early adulthood because all children are in essence narcissists!

I'm not trying to diminish any issues there might be but I think to you need to consider that its still very early days and it sounds from the little you've said on previous threads that things are going well so far. Its really not easy adopting a 5 year old and its not all going to slot into place straight away if only you could find the right solution.

Sometimes you have to work out the right solution together over a number of years.

Kewcumber Sat 15-Mar-14 10:21:52

I think you would benefit from reading some of the adoption threads. Read about parents finding it within themselves to deal with birth parent contact and supporting their children in that and having to discuss what injuries/damage/emotional distress/neglect birth parents might have inflicted with their child whilst trying to present BP's in a realistic but not derogatory light.

Because it's in the best interests of their child to not believe that half (or all) their DNA is from some tainted monster.

But I think you'd rather just win.

Kewcumber Sat 15-Mar-14 10:22:10

Sorry wrong thread!

crazeekitty Sat 15-Mar-14 13:35:37

Ditto to praising actions not the child.

As ever, buster, we seem to be experiencing similar things.

The parenting comments....I kept being told I was too strict etc. I gave close family a good talking to and.told them why and to back me up. My mum pointed out that in that case I should pick one issue to 'reparent' at a time and stick to that so dd isn't overwhelmed by rules and "nos". Good advice from my mum. Could it work for you?

I try really hard not to say "no" but to find other ways of putting and explaining things. "no" is a red rag to a bull to dd.

And she has also had similar chatterings to your lo but usually she tells the dog how mean her mummy is or gives her dollies and assembly about mean mummies. It's quite audible and usually over something that to me is inconsequential. She seems to have stopped doing it for now. I think she was grumpy at me and the therapist we have told me that at this stage of attachment they love and hate you in equal measure. That made so much sense to me. She said time and the love and trust will replace the hate and distrust and she's right.... Dd seems to be moving.on an inch at a time.

Hope that helps in some way

Italiangreyhound Sat 15-Mar-14 15:29:19

Buster no real advice, just a hug! His mumblings at night are his way of processing the thoughts in his head. Continue to show him the love and care you are already showing and make sure you get support. Who supports you?

Who pops round for a coffee or a chat or call you for a chat?
Who takes you for a meal occasionally or brings round a meal for you?
Are the wider family helping and supporting you?

Good luck and try not to take it persionally. I KNOW it is different but my birth DD can be very rude to me, to my face, and it is quite exasperating. At the moment I am cutting her some slack because she feels very overwhemed about the impending arrival of our little one! Your little one is probably hugely overwhelmed and so is processing. Sometimes replaying conversations or playing things out will help him.

This is huys a guess adoptive parents please tell me if this is a crap idea (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Would you be able to do any small play with dolls or toys as a kind of role play with him where he is the parent and you are the kid, (with dolls or teddies) and you are asking to do stuff and he has to say 'no', would that be empowering for him? Just an idea!

Italiangreyhound Sat 15-Mar-14 15:32:23


Sometimes replaying conversations or playing things out will help him. should be

Sometimes replaying conversations or playing things out may help him.

and huys guess should be huge guess.

Devora Sat 15-Mar-14 16:07:02

Buster, I agree with kew's points. It sounds to me like you're doing great, but expecting far too much of yourself. Even if you could be a perfect parent (and you probably won't be, so you could decide to forgive yourself for that right now) that won't 'fix' your boy in a few short months. This is a life's work ahead, and it is simply not all within your control.

Take your foot off your own neck a little, take a deep breath, and steel yourself for the long haul. This little boy's pain is going to come out in all sorts of ways - and the more you create a loving and safe space for him, the more you're going to see in some ways.

btw, my 8 yo birth child has always been rubbish at self-entertaining; vastly improving now (thank you, Harry Potter and Minecraft). My adopted 4 yo cannot play be herself for even five minutes. She can't sleep or go to the toilet by herself either. 'By herself' is just not happening in this house right now!

Devora Sat 15-Mar-14 16:07:15

And now I'm dying to know what the other thread is that kew is posting on.

Goldmandra Sat 15-Mar-14 16:23:55

I'm coming from the angle of and early years practitioner here, rather than an adoptive parent.

Children often do go over their experiences afterwards, replaying things and playing different parts. It helps them to make sense of them and understand what is going on for the other person. They often do it through play. You might want to consider giving him the opportunity to explore your family dynamics through small world play with you, especially if you think you could use it to help him understand what's going on your head. You might be able to help him understand that saying no and being cross with him by playing out the two situations and discussing the emotions behind them.

Buster51 Sat 15-Mar-14 16:52:16

Thank you all so much, randommess I've wrote your suggestions down to ensure I start saying these things instead of the generic "good boy" statements! Really isn't surprising I say it so much based on my family (funny you notice things when faced with a new situation!) I am thinking about printing a copy for them to attempt to start saying too!!

Kew, your message feels exactly right how in feeling, what you & Devora have said rings so true. I am putting so so much pressure on myself to do things "perfectly". I forever beat myself up when I feel things aren't "quite right". Regarding putting adults interpretations onto childen, very guilty of this!

Crazee that is a good point re picking just one thing, I'm
Afraid I feel it's me however! I need to completely change my mind set & just accept him without trying to "fix!" I think it's just the worry in case I don't do "all I can what might happen!" If that makes sense??

Italian, I have a lot of family around which is great, mum is visiting tonight when lo goes to bed for a cuppa & some goodies smile DH is in the forces so most of the time it is DS & I. I take yours & goldmandras comments on board regarding the play; reversing roles - I will definitely try this.

I am feeling ever so slightly better, I am not very good at shaking things off, definitely something I need to work on as DS definitely picks up on this. Thank goodness for Disney DVDs as today has most certainly turned into a chill & lets do nothing day! Must work on altering my mindset & not get so hurt / fear being hurt as you rightly said kew, I am the adult!

Thank you all so so much for your responses. What a long & challenging (yet rewarding) journey were on ey :-)

RandomMess Sat 15-Mar-14 16:59:33

Please remember parents of non-adoptees make mistakes/get it wrong/want perfection too. Parenting is the hardest thing you ever do in life and you rarely get thanks!

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